Clarity on new public health infrastructure welcome

24 March 2021

Responding to health and social care secretary Matt Hancock's speech at the Local Government Association and Annual Public Health Conference 2021, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said:

"We welcome further clarity from the government on the new public health infrastructure. The pandemic has highlighted why it is so important to have long-term investment in public health services in recognition of the vital role they play in supporting overall health and wellbeing and building resilience in health protection.

"Both health security and health promotion need focus at a local level to complement national work. Local leaders, who understand the needs of their populations best, must be empowered to work flexibly according to what they know works for their communities. Work must be done in systems, with strong collaboration between NHS organisations, local government and the voluntary sector. The government must provide sufficient financial investment on both a national and local level to ensure services are sustainable.

"Alongside a strengthened role for ICSs in public health and a robust voice for local government within systems, trust leaders believe that clinical public health services would be better protected from national funding cuts and offer integrated support if they were to be commissioned alongside other NHS services, in close partnership with local government and the voluntary sector as part of system working.

"In the coming days, we look forward to hearing about the re-homing of other important aspects of PHE's work surrounding the broader determinants of health. Tackling health inequalities and the recovery from COVID-19 must be at the centre of any reform to public health.

"We look forward to working with Dr Jenny Harries and Ian Peters in their new roles."